Thursday, January 10, 2013

Goodbye to The Comics Buyers Guide

The Comics Buyer's Guide has ceased publication.

I learned of The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom (TBG) on the letters page of the second or third issue of Jack Kirby's Kamandi in 1972 and I subscribed immediately. I think #19 was the first issue I received in the mail. Mostly an adzine in newspaper format, TBG did however feature a nominal amount of editorial content. Now What? by Murray Bishoff was my introduction to the intoxicating realm of comic book news that I have had an insatiable hunger for ever since. The paper was published biweekly at first but then upgraded to weekly in about 1976 and I looked forward to receiving it in the mailbox every week.

TBG helped me cross the borderline from reader to (gulp) creator. Don and Maggie Thompson published a few spot illustrations of mine in their Beautiful Balloons column in the late1970s and, by 1980, I had drawn a handful of covers for the newspaper (my X-Men cover to 1979's issue 304 is shown up above). Fred Hembeck rose to fame drawing for TBG; Terry Beatty took his place when Fred left and, when Terry announced in early 1982 he was leaving I drew up a sample comic commentary page and sent it in with the offer to draw more on a regular basis. I was as pleased as punch when editor/publisher Alan Light wrote back that I should keep the pages rolling in. Thank you, Alan, for that nod! (Here is a nice article to which Alan and Murray have posted comments, and here is Mark Evanier's take.)

Alan sold his creation in 1983 to Krause Publications. The new publisher reformatted TBG to more closely resemble an actual newpaper and they included more articles. They renamed TBG as The Comics Buyer's Guide (CBG) and installed the Thompsons as editors. The change in appearance to the paper was jarring at first but I came to like it (even though my cartoons no longer appeared at full-page size). In the 1990s the format changed again, this time to a magazine, and my interest in it waned.

I keep a list of things that I used to like quite a bit but which are no longer available. (Most items in the list are food products like Kellogg's Concentrate cereal and the Marathon candy bar.) I now reluctantly add TBG/CBG to that list.


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